Arsenal are close to returning to the CL; Everton out of relegation zone

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — The Champions League is preparing to welcome Arsenal back after a five-season absence.

The north London club are close to sealing fourth place and a return to Europe’s elite and lucrative competition after a 2-1 win over Leeds on Sunday pulled the side four points clear on Tottenham with three games to play.

The first of those will be at Tottenham on Thursday and a victory in the North London derby would secure fourth place.

It was Eddie Nketiah’s brace in the opening 10 minutes that ultimately secured victory over Leeds, who had captain Luke Ayling sent off in the 27th minute for a two-footed challenge on Gabriel Martinelli. Diego Llorente’s second-half goal for Leeds couldn’t spark a comeback.

Arsenal qualified for the Champions League for 19 consecutive seasons under Arsene Wenger before two years of failure led to the manager’s departure in 2018.

RELEGATION SCRAP

Losing to Arsenal sent Leeds into the drop zone alongside already relegated Watford and Norwich, while Everton jumped from the bottom three with a 2-1 win at Leicester.

Mason Holgate’s header gave Everton victory on the half-hour mark after Vitalii Mykolenko’s volley was canceled out by Leicester striker Patson Daka. Jordan Pickford’s saves for Everton secured all three points in the second half.

Frank Lampard’s Everton have the advantage of having three games to play while Burnley and Leeds, who are a point below them, have one game less.

EUROPA PROSECUTION

Manchester United’s worst Premier League season – characterized by a 4-0 collapse at Brighton on Saturday – gave West Ham hope of dislodging the fallen giant from fifth place.

A 4-0 win over bottom-placed Norwich kept West Ham in seventh place – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but David Moyes’ side are just three points clear of sixth place with two games to play and one in hand against United in the league’s Europa Place final.

Said Benrahma’s brace, a Michail Antonio strike and Manuel Lanzini’s second-half penalty secured an emphatic win for West Ham, who were denied a place in this season’s Europa League final by Eintracht Frankfurt Thursday.

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